History of Christian Thought with Dan Spanjer


I love history, a lot.

So, when I saw that we would be learning about the History of Christian Thought (taught by Dr. Dan Spanjer, a history professor at Lancaster Bible College), I was so excited. I think it’s very important to understand where we came from and how we got here. History helps us do that. We can also learn from mistakes that have been made and the consequences of different ideas. This week, we covered 2,000 years of history in three days focusing specifically on the church and important ideas from separate time periods.

The Reformation

My favorite time periods that we covered were the Reformation and Early Church (Apostolic/Post-Apostolic) because they were both such formational events in the church. The early church had to come up with a way to run church after the disciples and was coming up with some foundational theology (ex. Trinity) while facing severe persecution. The Reformation helped us refocus on the purpose/role of the church, its leadership, and Christian life.

I got to see these events on a much deeper level because we were looking at context and popular ideas that shaped that time period, making history so much more than a bunch of dates and names. Another thing I enjoyed was how Dr. Spanjer connected most of church history with one diagram. Basically, everyone is trying to answer the question of: how do we get people to God, and do we have the authority to give that to people?

One little change to the diagram makes a huge difference.

Church history seemed much more unified because you could see how different people were answering the question based on the history they’ve learned/experienced. There’s also no limit to how much you can learn about history and every time I dig deeper; I’m amazed and inspired by how God orchestrates events and works through both ordinary and influential/powerful people.

By Ruthie Haentsch: Ruth(ie) is from Fort Worth, Texas, and is 17 years old. She attended Summit Virtual this summer, her first experience with Summit. She is passionate about world missions and loves to explore new cultures. She is the oldest of 8 and loves messing around with her siblings. While at Summit, she is excited to learn more about her personal relationship with God and what other amazing things God is going to teach her.